An Israeli soldier rests near a tank on
the Israel Gaza border, Nov. 5, 2008. Six Palestinians were killed in a
clash between Palestian militants and Israeli soldiers on Wednesday
morning in central Gaza Strip. (Xinhua Photo)
by Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- A new wave of violence in
the Gaza Strip on Wednesday may be out of Israel's intention to undermine an
upcoming Egypt-sponsored Palestinian dialogue aimed to patch up rifts among
Palestinian fractions, politicians and analysts said.
Israeli air strikes on central Gaza Strip earlier
Wednesday morning killed six Islamic Hamas militants, which Hamas responded by
renewing dozes of home-made rockets and mortar shells into southern Israeli
territories and Israeli army posts near Gaza.
An Israeli tank runs on the Israel-Gaza
border, Nov. 5, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
Israeli security establishment immediately ordered a
full closure of all goods crossings between Israel and Gaza. Palestinian attacks
began to lessen around noon and completely stopped on Wednesday afternoon.
It is the first armed confrontation since an
Egyptian-brokered six-month ceasefire was declared effective in Gaza on June 19
between Israel and Palestinian militant groups led by Hamas.
¡¡¡¡HEAVY BLOW TO CEASEFIRE
The fresh violence between Gaza militants and Israel
deals a heavy blow to the fragile four and a half-month-old ceasefire in Gaza,
which was aimed at easing of Israeli sieges on Gaza in exchange for end of
The two sides have largely observed the truce despite
Hamas' criticism that Israel did not commit itself to the unwritten agreement by
not allowing sufficient flow of cargo into Gaza.
The Jewish state has periodically closed the cargo
crossings in response to sporadic Palestinian rocket fire that violated the
Talal Awkal, a Palestinian analyst, warned that this
quick surge and wane of violence indicate that the ceasefire was on tightrope.
He said that Israel attacked Gaza "following the
promising statements by Hamas" that it was going to reconcile with Fatah
movement "and end the internal Palestinian rift."
Sources close to Hamas said the Islamic movement
asked ceasefire intermediary Egypt to intervene, adding that Hamas told the
Egyptians that "it was ready to restrain if the Israeli aggression stops at this
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the Israeli
attack was a major violation of the truce and proved that the Jewish state was
not interested in observing the lull any more, without disclosing what Hamas
would do in response.
INTENTION TO DISABLE
Following Israel's airstrikes, Hamas spokesman in
Gaza Fawzi Barhoum accused Israel of disabling the Palestinian reconciliation
dialogue due to start in Cairo next week.
In June last year, Hamas routed Fatah-dominated
security forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and took control of Gaza,
while Abbas consolidated his power in the West Bank.
Awkal said, "Israel is interested in the Palestinian
rift and when it feels that the ceasefire will help ending the schism, it would
end the ceasefire in advance."
Senior Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat
echoed Awkal by saying "this aggressions aims at breaking the lull which should
be observed, in order to strike Egypt's efforts to end the Palestinian crisis."
Mohammed Shawaf, a 23-year-old university student,
shared the same opinion, saying that the Israeli operation in central Gaza "was
planned in advance and its carefully-estimated time proves that it aims at
making the Palestinians busy and prevent them from heading for reconciliation."
"Why Israel remained committed to the calmness and
only violated it without any reason just now, because (Palestinian) factions
were going for dialogue," he added.
But his friend Shuaib Abu Jahal believes that Israel
would respect the ceasefire "until seeing how the things will be going in
If the factions agree on reconciliation, "Israel will get rid of the ceasefire," he said.